« College Board Releases Revised AP U.S. History Framework | Main | Next Generation Science Standards Get Mixed Reviews From Genetics Experts »

Latino Children a Focus of USA Swimming Foundation's 2015 Campaign

Each day, 10 people in the U.S. die from drowning, with two of those deaths being children under the age of 14.

And while the abnormally high drowning rate for African-American children has been documented and reported on, less attention has been directed at Hispanic youths, 60 percent of whom cannot swim, according to a 2010 study commissioned by the USA Swimming Foundation.

"We realized there's an epidemic out there," said Debbie Hesse, the foundation's executive director.

This year, according to Hesse, the foundation has taken aim at curbing that epidemic, especially for minority children. Under its Make a Splash campaign, which began in 2009 and uses partnerships with more than 725 swim-lesson providers and advocacy organizations to increase access to swim programs for young people and their families, the foundation has set a goal of teaching 800,000 children how to swim.

Within the scope of its goal, the foundation has taken specific measures to ensure access to the Latino community, including the addition of Spanish-speaking representatives on its Make a Splash tour, which recently hit its 40th city since the campaign's debut.

The campaign offers bilingual educational resources as well, such as learn-to-swim materials, bracelets, and bag tags.

USA Swimming.PNG

"When we look at educating people, we're really looking at the materials that we have and making sure they connect with every community," said Tina Dessart, the Make a Splash program manager. "Making sure that they're bilingual has made a huge impact, I think, in those communities that were desperate for it."

Olympic medalists like Jessica Hardy and Cullen Jones, both of whom nearly drowned as children, are also backing the campaign. In particular, Jones—the second African-American ever to win a gold medal in swimming—has really served as a role model for both African-American and Latino communities, and his participation in the campaign has resonated with many minority children, according to Hesse.

Though the foundation won't find out until January if it hit its 2015 goal, as of May nearly 300,000 children had received lessons, and that number is expected to grow rapidly once summer figures arrive in September, Dessart said. By 2017, the foundation wants to reach 1 million children annually.

"By making swim lessons more apparent within the public and more of a skill set for everybody to learn, ... we could truly change the landscape" of not only swimming safety, but of USA Swimming's demographic, which we want more diversified, Hesse said.

Image: USA Swimming Foundation

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login |  Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments

  • Linda: My problem with homework is they give too much and read more
  • Seo Article Writer: Hello I just see your site when I am searching read more
  • Car Insurance Guy: Ah!!! at last I found what I was looking for. read more
  • cyptoreopully: Hey there everyone i was just introduceing myself here im read more
  • Connie Wms: Good grief. We have gone round and round forever with read more